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The winter weather can be too harsh on the plumbing systems, and when neglected, your pipes might freeze. As a result, the pipes can burst, resulting in catastrophic water damage and costly repairs. It’s therefore essential to have your home prepared in the right way to avoid such issues.
Part of preparation involves winterizing your plumbing system. It’s the process of guarding your pipes and other components against extreme temperature, especially when you plan to leave the house unoccupied for an extended period. Here are various tips to help protect your plumbing from problems that occur in cold weather.
1. Insulate Your Water Pipes
Any time cold air blows across your pipes, it increases the chances of freezing. Therefore it’s essential to add an extra layer of protection to pipes that run through an exterior wall or those in uninsulated areas like the attic, garage, or crawl spaces. It helps prevent the surrounding temperature from freezing the water within the pipes.
You can choose to use the foam insulation sleeve to slip over the pipes without necessarily disconnecting them. If it’s too difficult to reach all your pipes, it’s a good idea that you seek help from a licensed plumber. They have knowledge and tricks to help them do a complete and thorough job for you.
2. Shut off the Water
If you plan to leave your home for some time during winter, look for the main water valve near the meter and cut off the water supply. It will help prevent pressurized water from getting into the pipes. If frozen pipes burst, you will have less damage when the main water supply is shut.
3. Drain Water Lines
After shutting the main valve, open all the taps in the sink, shower, and bathtub to drain water out of your pipes. Remember that the remaining water in your pipes can freeze and rupture your pipes when you are away. The cost of repair or replacement could be very high, so you need to take proactive preventive measures. Flush your toilet too, and ensure that you drain all water in the tank.
Don’t forget to turn off the water valve to underground sprinklers and drain any remaining water. You can also seek help from a professional plumber to blow out any leftover water in the underground lines. When frozen, the sprinkler pipes can break and damage other delicate components in the system, leading to further costs. The irrigation system is very delicate and requires extra precaution. An experienced technician will help drain the lines in a way that minimizes unintentional mistakes that could cause further damage, especially if you aren’t familiar with the system.
4. Disconnect Hoses
Remember also to drain all exterior hoses and store them for the summer. When you leave a water-filled hose outside during winter, the water inside will freeze and form ice. If connected to a faucet, the ice can cause pressure buildup in your indoor water lines resulting in a pipe burst.
5. Upgrade to a Frost-free Hose Bib
When you leave the hose bib unattended, it can also freeze, leading to massive pipe cracks and water damage. The problem would spread beyond the valve, causing the main water flow to spray inside the house. It would be best to install a frost-free hose bib to avoid such issues. Alternatively, use hose bib covers for insulation. It takes a little time to install, and it’s a cheaper way to protect your hose bib.
6. Fix Any Obvious Leaks
It’s also crucial that you inspect your pipes for any leaks. An opening in your plumbing system creates a weak point, particularly in the cold winter months. When the water in your pipes begins to expand, the hole will extend further, and your pipes can burst. It’s very inconvenient and could lead to costly repairs. Therefore if you notice any minor leaks, fix them before the problem escalates to significant issues. You can also seek professional help to check and fix leaks in inaccessible areas, like the attic.
Additionally, seal any air leaks into your house to prevent frigid air from the outdoor from reaching your pipes. Close any gaps around access points where the plumbing pipes enter the house. Also, check exterior wall intersections and the joints between the walls and the foundation. Fill up such spaces with caulking. If there are too large openings, you can use spray foam insulation to seal them. Don’t forget to fix leaks around the chimney furnace or water heater vents. Apply weather stripping to block any openings at the windows and doors.
7. Keep Your Home Warm
A furnace is also an essential appliance that helps prevent your plumbing lines from freezing. When preparing for the winter, you must ensure that your heating system is in the right working conditions. When leaving your house, leave the furnace running. Adjust the thermostat to a lower temperature.
Also, upgrade to a programmable thermostat and connect it to the wifi so that you can monitor your house temperature remotely from a mobile device. When the temperature drops, you will get a notification to make the necessary adjustments to prevent damaging your pipes.
Alternatively, you can install heat cables on the vulnerable pipes. They have a built-in thermostat that detects the pipe’s temperature and turns the heat on preventing pipe freezing. Leave the cabinets under the sink open to let warm air from the room recirculate around the pipes.
8. Plan for Annual Plumbing System Maintenance
Another great winterization tip is to schedule plumbing system maintenance before the winter season. During maintenance, a professional will also service your water heater to ensure that it’s in the right working conditions. The technician can spot other underlying issues within your plumbing system and fix them early in advance to prevent costlier issues from arising.
Additionally, your plumber can advise you on the best winterization practices for those living in freeze-prone areas to protect your pipes. They may suggest using heat tape or reroute the pipes located in the basement, attic, or unheated floors. The professional will also look for bulging sections on the pipe, points where the water had frozen before. You could be lucky that such points didn’t burst in the previous season, but it creates a weak spot. A plumber will help replace such areas to avoid damage.
The Final Verdict
Follow the above tips to protect your plumbing system from freezing or other unexpected issues during winter. There are various simple tasks that you can do on your own, but you need to dedicate a considerable amount of time to do it right. If you don’t have any plumbing skills, some complex tasks require professional assistance. Experienced plumbers have up-to-date equipment to get the job done right the first time. The technicians also know the plumbing codes in different regions to ensure that the repairs or installations comply with the regulations. If you need assistance with your plumbing system, you can always reach out to IT Landes in Fox River Grove.
Experience, Knowledge, and Skill at Your Service
IT Landes has highly trained plumbers who can handle any minor or major plumbing issues. Our company also offers other services including air conditioners and heating system installation, repair, and maintenance. You can also contact us for ductless mini-splits, thermostat installations, duct cleaning, and geothermal system services. We serve Souderton, Telford, Harleysville, and the surrounding communities. Call our representatives in Fox River Grove now and book an appointment with a technician from [company_name]to enjoy our exceptional services. We look forward to serving your home comfort needs.